Friday 24 November 2023

Climate Walk - Hellifield Flash and Long Preston Deeps - 1 Nov 2023

With showers forecast, our expedition would end up in four parts 

1. Hellifield Flash.

We parked near this lake, on a small side road 100m from the main A65 road. It is in a depression in the big drumlins that were left after the last ice-age. Their deposition separates the Ribble from the Aire and diverted the Ribble south. (Previously it had continued east into the Aire). Until about ten years ago the water table used to fluctuate a lot,  and the lake almost dry up in droughts. The changes in water levels  were good for waders. They have dammed it now somehow so the water table remains high.

Richard had brought his telescope which was helpful. In the distance we could see swans, a merganser (or goosander?) and other ducks.

The heavens opened. Very hard. We decided to support local trade and drove to ...

2. Hellifield Railway Station Cafe. (highly recommended)

Here I could look over the railway track to the far side and slope beside the track  and talk about the yellow Genista tinctoria (Dyers Greenweed)  which used to grow there. (not accessible now). And also remember  the plants that used to grow on cliinker of the old railway yard and auction mart area - which is now a new housing estate.

I used my mobile phone to look at the "Pray and Fast for the Climate" sheet prepared for the 1st of November. We especially remembered the people suffering in Gaza. (Having had no laptop for three weeks in October I have become much better at using my phone).

We drove to the junction at 

3. Cow Bridge.

We looked over the bridge walls to the Ribble now very full of water. 

On the tarmac of the bridge was Puccinellia distans (Reflexed Saltmarsh-grass) and Cochlearia danica (Early Scurvygrass) come in with the salt and gritting of the roads.  

Several years ago I had found Anisantha diandra on the brow of this bridge.  I wonder if there are wind currents that leave seeds on bridge brows of bridges - or maybe the brow is especially dry, and other stuff dies and leaves places for the weeds. 

We walked through the field between the river and the long drainage ditch, then on the embankment to ..

4. The hide. 

We met a man who said he'd seen a marsh harrier over the willows in the distance.

We looked. First we saw three Cormorants in a tree. Then we saw the Marsh Harrier.  It was very pleasant sitting, in the quiet of the early evening (well about 4pm)  on the bench in the hide looking over the wide wide  expanse of the flat bottomed valley.  The Marsh Harrier came quite close soaring above.  (But not close enough for a good picture.)

Time for home. Not quite as good as Leighton Moss or some Scottish RSPB Reserves I have visited.. .. but lovely to think there is a place so close to home where I can see a marsh harrier, just 6km  4 miles from Settle.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

One in Three - women subjected to gender based violence in the world - November vigil at Settle

Here are pictures from the Mothers Union Vigil at Settle on 26 November 2022. There will be a similar vigil in 2023 on Sat 25 November. 

Meet at Holy Ascension Church  at 12.40 ready to walk up to the Market Place (and Settle Lights On). At 1.03 we will stand and have one minutes silence. 

1.03pm for the

 One in three women throughout the world who will suffer gender based violence during their lives. .. unless we can stop this violence

It also marks the UN women's campaign of "16 days of activism against gender-based violence."

Setting off from Holy Ascension

Edith's Wood: Visit by group from Craven Conservation Group in October 2023

A small group from Craven Conservation Group joined the Woodland Trust Work Party on 28 October. SD678741  Andy Newton of the Woodland Trust and Ken Tims of the Folly (Research Woodland) project showed us round. 

The planted trees are turning golden brown and include
Field Maple, Small leaved Lime and Pedunculate Oak

Twenty five years ago this had been a pasture on a drumlin/moraine. Twenty years ago saplings had been planted. 

We visited two areas that had been hedgerows and looked at some of the epiphytes on the trees and other wildlife including a friendly robin and a 14 spot ladybird Calvia 14 guttata - the Cream spot Ladybird

Calvia quattuordecimguttata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Cream-spot Ladybird 

Steve Garland who found the next nearest record of this species (according to NBN) recorded near the Three Peaks footpath where it passes through YWT Southerscales reserve) wrote an article about beetles here  Did you know that there are 400,000 beetles so far named in the world. They are the biggest group of insects. More than 20% of the animals named in the world are beetles. 
So there - you've just seen a picture of the one of the 400,000 beetle species in the world. Can you say Calvia quattuordecimguttata ?

Here ares some of the things we saw:

Ulota brucheii 

Cryphaea heteromalla  (Lateral Cryphaea)  SD67997398 on a Rowan
The BBS website in 2013  says:  If you find much of this moss, it will indicate that you are in an area where there is good air quality, and where airborne levels of sulphur dioxide are low. Since being eliminated from many industrial areas in the 20th Century, Cryphaea heteromalla has steadily been recolonising, although it is still scarce in places.

Cryphaea heteromalla

I hope to write about the pictures below shortly


Saturday 11 November 2023

Visit to Malham Chapel eco-garden Sunday service and floor.

November 5th 2023 and six members of Settle Methodist Church -members of their "Eco-group"  visited Malham Methodist Chapel. - Their aim:

To support a small rural church by bulking up the congregation to enable a "good sing"

To see the new Hope Garden - which replaces the patch of species poor grassland in the triangle next to the church. The Hope Garden began redevelopment in 2023 in collaboration with the Malham Environmental Group, a local garden designer, local farmer and other interested parties.

To see the fascinating floor in the church which illustrates the famous beauty spots within a mile of the village - and thus enables a "pilgrimage within a few steps".

Four members pose beside the church as they arrive early at 9am for the 9.30 service 

Local Preacher, ..Mr Murfitt arrives (left) and is greeted by Philip Taylor, normally the organist at Settle, who today will play the piano at Malham. 

We sing our praises and give thanks to God.  the congregation includes a lady from Oregon in America here on holiday.

After the service Sally (left) show us a table of knitted angels. People are invited to take one, and display it at home and leave a message in a book saying where the angel has gone.

Sally shows us the floor, the windows, and much more. we watch a short video explaining about the church renovations.

The group pose for a photo. See the picture of the chapel under Robin's feet (on the left)


After the service we walk round the garden. Sally shows us the "Bee house/  insect hotel".

Outside the chapel a rainbow was put up during covid. The children liked to see it when they pass it on the school bus, so they left it.

I would recommend other churches in the Yorkshire West District to come here and take part in a service.  With just a small congregation,  the chapel just has services every two weeks and is supported by the rest of the Skipton circuit.
The chapel is open the the daytime during the week for visitors so do PLEASE call in if you visit Malham and encourage your friends to do so.


I used to attend Malham Chapel when I lived at Malham Tarn Field many years ago. 

Saturday 4 November 2023

Justice for Palestinians Vigil in Settle on 4 Nov 2023

 Today, 4 November, I attended the Justice for Palestinians vigil in Settle.  We stood on the side of the market place from 12.30pm to 2.30pm

There were about 30 of us (But I read The Met Police estimate there were 30,000 in central London alone.)

The Israeli military says that 242 people are being held hostage by Hamas. And about 1400 were killed in the initial Hamas attack on 7 October.

Yet now within one month, 9000 - mostly innocent - Palestinians have been killed -but including some members of Hamas.  And the other million plus are living in the horror of the bombing, lack of food, water, injuries, loss of relatives due to death etc.

Two wrongs don't make a right. 

We cannot stand back and let the Palestinians undergo even more suffering.  (If for no other reason than "It will bounce back" - people in the future will look back and say "Why did you not help the Palestinians?")

Annie suggested at the beginning that we made a large circle and those who had something to say in turn could say it. Many very interesting points were made.


On 18 November (two weeks time) there are to be two talks at the Friends Meetings House organised by the group "Three Peaks for Palestine" at their annual awareness/fundraising day, when they sell soup, coffee and  Palestinian Olive Oil and Dates.   I have been to some of these in the past and learned more how the Israelis are encroaching on the Palestinian land in the West Bank.  The Palestinians were there before modern Israel was formed 

Here is a useful potted history at  

Sat 18  Nov

Three Peaks for Palestine

Quaker Meeting House Settle. 10.00-3.00 pm

Talks by

Robert Cohen

who used to live in Bentham with his wife, Rev Anne Russell and family. You may have heard him and remember what a clear, thought provoking and compassionate speaker he is on the complexities of relations between Israelis and Palestinians. Robert is chair of the Amos Trust. (

11.00am Reflection on the terrible events in Israel & Gaza which began on 7 Oct - their   background and immediate consequences.  

1.00pm Suggestions how best Jews, Palestinians & their allies can work together.

All day: coffee, cakes, soup and sale of Zaytoun Palestinian farm products such as olive oil and dates.


Sunday 1 October 2023

Climate Walk: Fungi, Flowers and Grass of Parnassus on 1 Oct 2023 at Attermire and Scaleber Foss

Graham, Jane, Geoff and I set off for a "First Day of the month Climate Walk" on 1 Oct

Geoff has been reading Frederic Riley's book of walks in the Settle area, written a 100 years ago and wants to see if some of the plants are still here. It is very warm and muggy.

Judith  (me) wants to see if we can find the part at the lower end of Attermire "Tarn" - flat area where it had be drained. (having heard Lee Schofield (author of Wild Fell)'s talk last week which included a section "looking for depressions which could be drained ponds.") Attermire was drained in the 19th C. says one internet source. 

I think Graham and Jane have just come for the walk..

We don't read from our Climate Prayer Sheet - because it is not yet online on 1 Oct.  (But for the record  just note 

- that September was the second warmest month we have ever had in the UK. (The warmest in England and Wales and in parts of Europe)

- that the State of Nature Report for the UK and dependent territories was published this week. The UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth. But I knew that. THe UK was bad 50 years ago- but it has got so much worse!

And we 

- that we still have lots of Red Admiral Butterflies, 

-That the Antarctic ice sheet is melting rapidly

-That there is controversy over the government decision to give the go ahead for the development of the Rosebank Oilfield, and last week that their law that all new cars would have to be electric from 2030 had been withdrawn. What will people be saying when they look back in five years??

We park near Scalebar Foss first. I explain  the walls by the road are made of a brick brown coloured limestone.. and that the road is parallel to a fault, parallel to and just south west of the road.

See discussion of geology here - 

The ordinary Geological survey map with its lovely shades of blue and turquoise for different limestone series that you can buy as a paper version can be viewed online here: 

We enter the waterfall area by the lower stile near the bridge so that we can look at the fallen log that is infected with a blue- green fungus - now called Chlorociboria aeruginascens( It used to be Chlorosplenium . but hey ho, the fungi names are changing as fast as the lichen and flower names). English name: Elf Cup. Because the wood is stained the beautiful blue-green colour it is sometimes used for carving. 

Elf cup - the cup is about half a cm across.

We descend down the slippery track beside the waterfall. 

The source of the river is from Stockdale (and the land below Pikedaw above Malham) and also from the stream coming out of Attermire. It is the source of Long Preston Beck.

Fungi on log near stream

 Geoff says that Riley said that "The laburnum make a splendid site in spring. "  We look amongst the vey tall beech, a few tall conifers (Larch?) and maybe self sown young hazel.. and do spy one laburnum struggling in the shade across the river. 

Geoff starts to make a list of plants in flower -  for the record -  Burnet Saxifrage and Ladies Bedstraw and lots of Yarrow on the verge by the road, a Harebell by the fence in Scaleber.

Now we are going to Attermire, part of the source of the river we have seen.

We drive back to the junction with Stockdale Lane and park there.

We walk through the field towards Attermire Scar. In this field we find three different waxcaps (Blackening, White, Slimy orange) and an Enteloma. 

Blackening or Conical Waxcap

I think that will give it the low score  that would give on 
 NEYEDC Yorkshire Waxcap survey (or the Plantlife 2023 survey) - I feel the area will have more waxcaps later in the season. Maybe I can combine the results with the next field where we found an extra waxcap-the slightly more nutritious Meadow Waxcap. Or look up species in the online waxcap key
This next picture is the inedible Egghead Mottlegill, and early coloniser of dung (sheep or cattle)  - but think- where would we be if there were no fungi to break down dung?

Panaeolus semiovatus - common on dung.

We reach the t-junction at the path just below Attermire 

Here there is the option of turning left - slightly uphill a tiny way to the "summit" above Settle and then descending by the long steep path down to Settle and a tea-shop - or
turning right  to go to the flush area where Grass of Parnassus might be found and continuing a little way, hitting  the Stockdale road, and walking back to the car.

Graham and Jane decided to go left. Geoff and I go right to look for the plants.

Geoff and I turn right towards Attermire Tarn. 
We have observed that the area is somewhat treeless,
considering the natural vegetation would be trees....

We find flush areas in the first two fields with sedges and some "Brown" mosses and even Selaginella -

Path through the flush. (Geoff top right of picture, but bottom of field)

Selaginella selaginoides

  But it was only in the third area that we search that we are rewarded and find a Grass of Parnassus - and - still in flower. Several. The bottom part of the field where the flush area was has been separated with a fence long ago (10 - 20 years) I think. I had visited this field with Mike Canaway and Craven Conservation Group ??? 20 years ago??? Glad to see it is still in reasonable condition. with lots of small sedges such as Carex dioica and Eleocharis quinquiflora. One piece of Stonewort.

Devil's-bit Scabious (and and Rough Hawkbit leaf in the foreground.

pointing to the Grass of Parnassus

The sun comes out briefly.

One late flowering Bird's-eye Primrose forgets it is October not June..

Then we remember that Jane will be waiting for us in Settle.. and set off home through another field and along a very, very long stretch of Stockdale Lane back to the car.  Fortunately Graham and Jane phone so we can say we are on the way.. but by then my feet, especially my toes are hurting.. I just can't find shoes/boots that fit.

We see a farmer gathering sheep with his dog, and a big flock of gulls. This field has been reseeded.

We find the drainage channel from the Tarn- put underground

Over the lichen covered wall we see another channel leading away.

Then it's back to the car and down the hill to Settle, and Jane.

Do join us on a walk on 1 November - I expect there will still be lots more Fungi around.